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Europa Clipper



The Europa Clipper mission is designed to go into an orbit around Jupiter that will allow multiple close flybys of its moon Europa. The goal of the mission is to gather data on Europa at each flyby to determine its habitability. The primary science objectives are: 1) characterize the ice shell and any subsurface water, including their heterogeneity, ocean properties, and the nature of surface-ice-ocean interchange; 2) understand the habitability of Europa's ocean through composition and chemistry; and 3) understand the formation of surface features, including sites of recent or current activity, and characterize high science interest localities.

The mission is scheduled for launch in October 2024. Europa Clipper will take a Mars Earth Gravity Assist (MEGA) trajectory, with the Mars assist on 27 February 2025 and the Earth assist on 12 January 2026. It will reach Juiter and go into orbit on 11 April 2030. It will go into a highly elliptical orbit that will allow approximately 40 - 45 flybys of Europa, at distances of 2700 km to 25 km above the surface. It will also fly by Ganymede and Callisto as part of its orbit-shaping maneuvers.

It is still early in the spacecraft development stage, details are subject to change before launch, but the total mass of the spacecraft will be approximately 6000 kg. Propellant will make up 2750 kg and helium pressurant for the propulsion system another 10 kg. The scientific payload will be about 350 kg with the possibility of further additions. The science payload will consist of nine instruments. In addition, the telecommunications system will be used for gravity studies, and radiation monitors for engineering may also provide science return. The nominal design has a box-shaped spacecraft bus with two solar panel wings. A high-gain dish antenna is mounted on one side of the bus, the instruments mounted primarily on the Europa-facing and forward facing (in direction of travel) sides of the bus. Propulsion is provided by a monomethylhydrazine / mixed oxides of nitrogen system.

Alternate Names

  • EuropaClipper
  • Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 
Launch Vehicle: Unknown
Launch Site: Unknown,

Funding Agency

  • Unknown (United States)


  • Planetary Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Robert T PappalardoProject ScientistNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. Louise ProckterDeputy Project ScientistApplied Physics
Dr. David SenskeDeputy Project ScientistNASA Jet Propulsion
Dr. Curt NieburProgram ScientistNASA
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